A MEANINGFUL MEMORY - October 14 - part 1

Photo taken of my family either prior to sailing or already on ship! 

Fifty-five years ago today I turned ten on the ship as we sailed from Germany across the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life in Canada! A week or two before sailing, we had painfully said goodbye to all the wonderful relatives – grandparents, aunts, uncles and especially the many terrific cousins!  That was not easy!!!  Lots of hugs, tears, teasing and promises to write! For my upcoming combined birthday/goodbye gift, I received my first wristwatch from my parents and grandparents! (The wristwatch did make it to the new land, but this curious little girl had to find out one day many months later what makes a watch tick, thereby ruining the works.  She felt that she deserved to be on the receiving end of her strict father’s wrath as he then meted out her punishment.)

We traveled by train to Bremen, and stayed there until health examinations and clearance was given to our whole family to board the Arosa Kulm. Where was this land called Canada? I had no concept of geography or any idea how long this trip would take! I understand from many of my friends who have been on modern day ships that cross-Atlantic cruises are much, much nicer now!!! As we set out for this ten day crossing, Mom immediately started ‘feeding the seagulls along the railings’, a euphemism for her seasickness! Dad had a stomach of steel!  No nausea here, but rather he ate all the meals designated for his family, for the ten days on board, because none of us could eat them.  Having survived the horrors of wartime and the lack of food, he was not going to waste a blessed thing! Surprisingly he did NOT get sick but probably gained a few pounds on his thin body – which, however, he must have walked off every day around the ship – just to keep busy!

For my birthday I received a lovely greeting from the captain of the ship, a balloon I think, and some oranges to eat.  I didn’t understand then that the intake of Vitamin C would have been a good thing! I had never seen an orange, never mind eaten one before! Honestly??? My first bite into the fruit with this thick rind was not at all pleasant! When shown by someone what to actually do with an orange, I still didn’t like it! Nothing agreed with me and wouldn’t stay down either – just fluids – probably a good thing!

My younger brother and sister had to hang around mom in the room – which was like a large dormitory filled with all the immigrant women and children – where they could play with the other children there.  The men were on another part of the ship. Us older ones got to roam more freely and satisfied our curiosities – yet amazingly enough managed not to get into trouble with any of the staff.  They loved us and showed it! The whole trip was not at all boring as we had others our own age with whom to pass the time! The older youth kept to themselves and played their own games – shuffleboard on deck I think!

In my mind's eye I still recall the welcome sight of Quebec City where we landed - see photo!  My parents were the ones who had to deal with all the paper work, translations, and transportation to board the train that would take the five of us from Quebec City to Winnipeg, Manitoba. That’s where relatives, who had immigrated before us, had settled and were waiting for us with wide, open arms!  God is good and brought us safely across the mighty ocean into a new land! That's the special memory of my 10th birthday on board the Arosa Kulm! For pic of the ship, see my sidebar!

Now you are all invited to have a piece of delicious cake with a great cup of coffee to celebrate my officially becoming a senior! My Old Age Security gift from the Government of Canada should arrive next month!

Check out the website, Mennonite Girls Can Cook.
This cake is from Anneliese -
just click on her name to get her recipe!


Betty said...

Happy Birthday Karin! I soooo wish I could come for that piece of cake and here more stories of how you settled into this strange, but wonderful land called Canada!! :)
Enjoy your day!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Karin,this brings with it Best Wishes for a Blessed Birthday.I trust that today is the beginning of more blessings than ever before.If only I could join you to sample that cake.
Blessings and Hugs,Ruth

Anonymous said...

Karin what a beautiful story. People like me have no idea how some folks lives have lead them to places. I have never been to Europe and have no idea what it would be to have to leave a home and country for the other side of the world. Happy Birthday to you and thanks so much for sharing that story. Blessings

McMahon Manifesto said...

Happy Birthday, Karin! What an interesting story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading! I will have to E-mail you soon and get together for a birthday coffee. I can't believe you are an official senior. You look so much younger!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Happy Birthday, Karin. I loved reading your story of immigration when you were 10. Bet your 10th birthday will always be a favorite....

I enjoyed your cake.. Thanks!!!! And the good news is that I didn't gain a pound.
Betsy--From my laptop in Georgia

C said...

Woooooowwww...you have lived an AMAZING life, Karin!!!!! All those experiences and memories...you must be just all-so full of all of them!!!! :)

Karabeth said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KARIN! I hope it was a good day for you. It sure looks like it is a beautiful cake!

Thanks for the memory of your transatlantic voyage. My German family made the voyage several years before you did and actually had to put up with some anti-German sentiment during the two World Wars. It made tracing the genealogy a bit difficult as names became Anglicized and Americanized.

So you are waiting for official word from the government as to your senior status, huh? Well, here in the good ol' USA I've been inundated with mail from the AARP! Give me a break! "Retired Persons" indeed. Like that is ever going to happen! :)

(Hope there are no typos in this. The little grandson is sitting on my lap as I type and he has insisted upon pushing keys with his toes and fingers. I guess he wants to leave a message for you, too!)

Joy said...

Karin, I really enjoyed reading your story of crossing the ocean to your new home. So interesting.
I hope you had a happy birthday.


Anneliese said...

I'm sorry I missed your birthday. Funny, when I was on the cruise, I was thinking how it may have been different for those crossing the Atlantic as refugees. And to read this now... yes do do need to go on a cruise! Happy belated Birthday! I'm honored that you would chose my cake... but I wish you could have had a real slice!

Brenda Leyland said...

Karin, I haven't been for a while, so I had a nice browse. Lovely photos and interesting postings.

What a beautiful cake --- and a very happy milestone birthday! May it be the beginning of a wonderful new chapter of life.


Laurie M. said...

Happy Belated Birthday to you!(I've fallen behind on my blog reading.) What an amazing story! What a life you've had so far! Thank you so much for sharing your story.